I came to learn about this when I needed it most. As the saying goes, when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear. At age 52, I finally decided to do something about my always out of control weight and it took me about a year and a half to lose 130 lbs. But as I was standing at the mirror one day roughly midway along in this process, I noticed something awful….that my fat had been masking horrifying changes that had been taking place in my face. I was looking at a reflection that was at least ten years older than my chronological age. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I burst into tears. Why bother getting all that weight off then? I wanted to look fabulous. To keep myself motivated, I told myself that I would look great, that it was worth it to skip that piece of pie. Instead, I was looking like somebody’s grandmother. My crying went on for weeks, every time I looked in the mirror. I was devastated.
I had always had a little contempt for people that submitted to plastic surgery, but here I was giving it serious consideration. I just couldn’t recognize myself, not in the slightest and I couldn’t stand it. My face looked like melting candle wax, as though everything was sliding downward and my cheeks were totally flat. My hair was dry and wiry, something like Brillo. My eyes and mouth sagged downward and I had a drooping chin, jiggly jowls and that loose turkey flap running down my throat.. I decided to at least get an estimate and I found a highly skilled Beverly Hills surgeon, braced myself and showed up for the appointment. I think I used half a box of Kleenex after they gave me the cost estimate. There was no way I could ever spend that kind of money on a cosmetic procedure. I wouldn’t even spend that amount on a car. And the whole subject terrified me anyway. Too many horror stories for my delicate psyche. “Don’t worry”. the surgeon said, patting my hand. “I can give you a discount”. Ridiculous. “Don’t worry”, I thought. “I can find another way”.
What is really odd about this is that it was only a few days later while I was stopping for lunch at my favorite deli that I picked up a Learning Annex catalog so that I would have something to read while I ate. I flipped through the upcoming classes and my heart jumped to the moon as I read “Facial Exercises-get better results than plastic surgery”. The class was only two weeks away so I reserved a spot and went with an open mind. The teacher was Cynthia Rowland, a woman in her late fifties who truly did not look it. She brought before and after photos of some of her students and I remember one woman in her eighties who absolutely awed me. She could have passed for fifty and had she been slimmer, perhaps even for forty. Face after face showed dramatic improvements. I was very impressed and very, very hopeful.